Donegal North East TD Joe McHugh has today condemned the ongoing violence in Belfast.
The Fine Gael TD was speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
He said: “Our committee has been extremely concerned over the past month at violent protests over the flying of the Union flag, and have followed the continuing unrest in the city with deep unease. On behalf of the committee, I also wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the death threats to democratically elected representatives in Belfast and beyond.
“Our committee was welcomed warmly by communities in North and East Belfast last November, and we listened to many personal stories from the Troubles and heard from representatives at the grassroots level that the peace process should not be taken for granted. The hospitality we received in loyalist communities in particular was a moving experience for many committee members. The committee pledges that it will continue to work with both communities in 2013 and will continue to do all it can to support and nurture the peace process on this island.”
Deputy McHugh expressed concern that the events were serving to undermine the image of Northern Ireland abroad. He said that, in difficult economic times and with the development of tourism so vital to job creation, these actions were all the more frustrating and counterproductive.